The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings are a week away from their home opener against the Buffalo Sabres, and the Wings will ice a less-than-prime-time lineup against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight (7:30 PM, Fox Sports Detroit Plus/NHL Network) mostly due to the fact that a combination of nagging injuries and a hype-filled pair of back-to-back games against the Toronto Maple Leafs give the team one more chance to evaluate its younger players before ramping up for this weekend's regular-season warm-ups.
The Penguins released their roster as of yesterday...
As noted yesterday, the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reported that the Red Wings and Amway chose not to renew Amway's status as the Wings' "presenting sponsor"--the team is now technically presented by AT&T, and the massive Amway signs near the scoreboard have been replaced by Kroger banners--and today, via RedWingsFeed, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea also took note of the adjustments made while reporting that the Wings will not find a new official partner/presenting sponsor for this upcoming season:
“While Amway has chosen to focus their relationship on other aspects of the business and no longer are the team’s presenting sponsor, we are working out details to adjust the partnership elements for the 2013-14 season,” Wings Director of Communication John Hahn said in a statement.
Financial terms were never disclosed, but the Amway deal was believed to be worth under $10 million for both years.
I posted this in the game-day update thread, but given the fact that the Red Wings and Maple Leafs play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, but won't play a regular season game until December 21st, this Tweet from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston shouldn't surprise us:
Updated 16x at 6:20 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD Plus/NHL Network/WXYT AM), and not all is well, as Paul noted:
Though this part IS good:
Back to the skate...
The AP's Larry Lage posted a Red Wings 2013-2014 season preview yesterday, and the season of season previews kicks off in earnest with an incredibly detailed Red Wings preview from ESPN's Craig Custance, and it includes a video interview with Jimmy Howard...
And ESPN's summary (the "experts" are picking the Wings to finish second or third in the Atlantic, and Custance made his Stanley Cup-winning and Atlantic Division-winning pick during a chat yesterday--picking Ottawa winning the division and losing to LA in the Cup Final) of the preview is as good a place as any to start:
Things are about to "get busy" for the Red Wings and Red Wings fans. The Wings will wrap up their preseason schedule with three games over the course of the next four nights, starting with tonight's televised game against Pittsburgh (7 PM EDT, FSD Plus/ROOT Sports/WXYT AM, and yes, as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, Henrik Zetterberg and a coalition of Southeastern Michigan police and fire departments are collecting smoke detectors today and Friday)...
When the Red Wings play the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday, Red Wings fans have a chance to watch the team's "next wave" up close as the Grand Rapids Griffins will hold a pair of exhibition games against the Lake Erie Monsters in Southeastern Michigan (and Southwestern Ontario).
On Saturday night, the Griffins and Monsters will play at Plymouth's Compuware Arena, and on Sunday the 29th, the teams will face off again at Windsor's WFCU Centre. The Plymouth Observer (no author's name listed) took note of the Griffins' appearance in Plymouth:
The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger spoke with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock about his Olympic aspirations, and while the Wings' coach is living the American dream, the man is as dedicated to--as he likes to put it--"sport" (instead of sports), and this February, he's going to soak in the Olympic experience.
Ahead of a season in which he's got to balance shifting to the Eastern Conference, dealing with those dang 24/7 cameras and the Winter Classic hubbub, heading to Sochi to coach Team Canada and then returning Stateside to prepare for a playoff run, Babcock's pumped up for all of it--especially the part where he takes his family to the Cacausus Mountians in February:
“The Olympic opportunity is as much fun as you can have, especially last time when I got to share it with my family,” Babcock said. “I’m not sure it will be the same this time, but it’s still going to be great. A lot of it has to do with your growth and development as a coach. If you want to be at the top of your field, it’s about life-long learning.”
Babcock’s desire to one day wear a Canadian jersey at the Olympics dates back to his childhood. Because his dad worked in the mines, the family moved frequently, relocating from Northern Ontario to the Northwest Territories to Saskatchewan.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
“Am I concerned going to the East?” Holland said. “Would I like to have a big, tough guy in the middle of the lineup? Yeah. But I haven’t really bought into having fourth-line guys that don’t have much skill and are one-dimensional players. I guess I put more of a premium on goals.”
There is no debate that many fans like fighting. There is no debate that fighting can intimidate and play a role in team toughness. There is no debate that there are different ways to build a successful organization.
But do you need fighting to sell the game to hardcore hockey people? Do you need it to win? Does it necessarily protect your skilled players? No. It can even be counterproductive....
The Joe rocks like anyplace else for a fight. Some of the most popular Wings have been guys who could punch – Bob Probert, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan – and a couple of the most memorable moments in Wings history were line brawls against the blood rival Colorado Avalanche.
Yet the Wings have hardly dropped the gloves over the last couple of decades, the Joe has been sold out for virtually all of that time, and the fans have embraced peaceful, graceful players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, too.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.